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Ogden—Debra Darrington is hoping to add a new word to your vocabulary: ailulia.
“It is a word that I made up,” said Darrington, owner of the new store named for her expression on Ogden’s Historic 25th Street. “I’m in the process of putting it in the dictionary. It is an exclamation that you shout when you find something that you didn’t know you were looking for, or when you find something that you were fine living without, but now you can’t.”
The expression is one Darrington is hoping she hears often at ailulia, which opened mid-October. The store carries women’s clothing and gifts that range from locally made bath products to scented candles. Darrington, who has been actively involved in retail since she was 13, is also the owner of Chantilly Mansion and Bellington Manor, two northern Utah wedding venues. She said she started ailulia out of a desire to have a cute place to shop—and to have a creative outlet beside her main businesses.
“At the wedding venues, we do the same thing multiple times—well, not the same things every time, but it’s a wedding each time,” said Darrington. “I have a very creative mind where I see something, want it to happen, and then see something else, and want it to happen.”
In order to exercise that creativity, Darrington goes to market a dozen times a year and looks for fresh designers to display the goods of in her shop. She particularly likes local designers, but also likes the ones who aren’t are still small, and every item brought into ailulia is because it struck Darrington in the right way.
“Everything that I bring in has a story behind it,” she said. “Either that story is the family that makes it or the woman who enabled herself to put her kids through school because she used her talents that way. It might be that it was something I fell in love with because it reminded me of my childhood. … As I’m buying, I’m thinking ‘I love this,’ or ‘my sister will love this, my neighbor will love this, so-and-so that I met will love this.’ So it brings a good variety in of everything. ”
In addition to the designers she finds, Darrington also has “a trickling” of her own goods that she produces for the store, which includes both clothing and soaps. While Darrington is the creative force behind her line, she has a group of local women who are in charge of the larger production of her pieces.
“When I was little, I loved to create things. As I got older, my mind worked faster than my hands did. I created faster than I could manufacture on my own,” said Darrington. “So, I have a group of ladies that I put in to place around the area so that it empowers them as well as bringing products into the store.”
Also included in ailulia is Darrington’s son Alex’s shop: One Dude’s Cupcake Co. Tucked into an upstairs corner is a display case with what he calls “a guy’s take on cupcakes,” with flavors like caramel corn, cinnamon roll, or brownies a la mode. Although Alex is currently in charge of catering for both Chantilly Mansion and Bellington Manor, he bakes the cupcakes fresh every morning, never freezing a batch. He said he wanted to keep his cupcakes as the most affordable gourmet cupcake in the area, at $1.99 each.
“It’s pretty much straightforward,” he said. “You know what that cupcake is without having someone explain what the flavor is to you.”
With fresh cupcakes and small-batch, hand-picked goods and gifts in the store, Darrington hopes that ailulia will quickly become a favorite in the area. So far, she says, the response has been good.
“I just brought in the things that I love and realized that lots of other people love it, too! We’ve had two [phrases] that we hear daily as people are walking in,” said Darrington. “As people walk in, they say ‘Oh, this is going to be dangerous,’ and then, as they’re walking out, they say ‘Oh, this is my favorite.’ I just love that.”
Both ailulia and One Dude’s Cupcake Co. can be found at 236 25th St. in Ogden.